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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 10, 2007
14 arrested for publicly thrashing two Christian missionaries in Maharastra town
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14 arrested for publicly thrashing two Christian missionaries in Maharastra town

Police in the Maharashtra town of Ichalkaranji have arrested 14 people for publicly thrashing two Christian missionaries.

Ichalkaranji (Maharashtra), May 10 : Police in the Maharashtra town of Ichalkaranji have arrested 14 people for publicly thrashing two Christian missionaries.

According to reports, Hindu hardliners attacked the two Christian missionaries over charges that they were trying to convert local Hindus towards Christianity.

The two young priests were reportedly kicked and punched before being dragged through the town in Kolhapur District.

Officials later said that a local court has given bail to the arrested people.

"Fourteen people were arrested in the case today. The court has admitted the cases against them. However, the court let them off on bail," said Mohan Mane, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kolhapur.

News footage showed one Hindu activist knee a priest in the groin, making him double up in pain. Another kicked the missionary in the head.

The crowd accused the priests of forcibly converting poor Hindus, and handed them over to police. But a local Christian leader said those baptised had willingly changed their faith.

Police said the two missionaries were arrested on complaints that they were fraudulently converting people.

Hardline Hindu groups - some of them linked to main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribespeople and lower caste Hindus to change their faith.

Several states ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP have passed anti-conversion laws.

Last week, Hindu zealots beat up a pastor with sticks and left him bleeding profusely in Rajasthan where the BJP is in power.

Christian groups say lower-caste Hindus who convert do so willingly to escape the highly stratified Hindu caste system.

Christians make up around 2.3 percent of mainly Hindu India's 1.1 billion people.

ANI

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